Tuesday, September 6th, 2022
A couple of weeks back, we sold our Chevy Tahoe. We purchased it just days after Ruby was born. I remember driving home from the hospital in a two-wheel-rear-wheel drive Toyota Tacoma and it was slippery with snow. We needed a way safer vehicle stat, and we popped over to the Chevrolet dealership and bought the Tahoe.
Fast forward nearly 5 years later, we decided to sell it. It was $70k new and we sold it for $40k right to the dealer we bought it from, so I’m gonna call that not too shabby. Thanks, market conditions.
We’ve been down to just one vehicle for the last few weeks, which is totally fine, especially in the summer. But we took it as an opportunity to get Miranda an electric bike. I’ve had one for years and love it.
She doesn’t like riding my Specialized Vado. So now. just in case I need the truck, she’s got a way to scoot around town. She went with a Tern. Ruby named it Dragonfruit. I mostly like it. I like how the kickstand keeps it straight up and down and very sturdy. I like the “cafe lock”, a way of locking it up without needing to fiddle with a cable. I like how it can collapse down to, theoretically, fit into a trunk. I really like the “clubhouse” thing on the back that Ruby can climb up into. It’s a lot lower to the ground (safer) and more spacious than the Yupp seat on my bike. I’d put a Clubhouse on the back of my bike in a heartbeat if it would fit.
It’s not my bike, so it doesn’t matter, but there are a few things I don’t like. The small tires don’t feel as stable to me. It’s got two batteries, which feels kinda unnecessary since it doesn’t help with power, only distance, and we really don’t need distance help. You also have to charge them entirely separately. My least favorite thing is that I feel like it could use 40% more power. Coming up our hill is a real chore even on the very highest power setting.
Overall, pretty cool. I like that we both have electric bikes so we can kick down into the city together and do certain things (like events in the park) without worrying about parking. We were just visiting Miranda’s family and coincidentally he had also picked Tern for his electric bike. Like father like daughter.
Monday, September 5th, 2022
Miranda’s brother and family live there, and her parents also just moved there after retiring. It was a nice time for a final summer trip. We swam in the pool, saw a funk band play in the park, hit the farmer’s market, ate Parlor Doughnuts, watched a Pop Warner football game, and a bunch of other good ol’ Midwestern family fun.
Check out Ironwood Brewing if you find yourself there. It was my favorite of all I tried there and has a cute little spot. The Jefferson Grisette was very good.
Wednesday, August 31st, 2022
Been a long time since I’ve done an in-person talk, but I broke that ice today.
It’s my “The web is good now” talk — revamped quite a bit and shrunk to fit into a 25-minute slot. Felt like riding a bike, really. I was able to summon up that old speaker energy and deliver it to the best of my ability, and it feels like it was received well.
Tuesday, August 30th, 2022
Is it interesting to use a video as an
Monday, August 29th, 2022
I remember seeing Adam Best’s tweet when it went viral:
Las Vegas: AR-15
Aurora, CO: AR-15
Sandy Hook: AR-15
Waffle House: AR-15
San Bernardino: AR-15
Poway synagogue: AR-15
Sutherland Springs: AR-15
Tree of Life Synagogue: AR-15
Now it’s Bend’s turn. Right down the road. Fucking great. Hey, I don’t have all the answers, but, to me, it doesn’t seem to take a lot of brain power to identify “easy to acquire assault rifle” as a major problem. I made the mistake of following the local Reddit and Facebook threads about this, and aside from all the thoughts and prayers bullshit, the amount of “obviously we need more guns” comments astound me. While everyone agrees the shootings are horrible, the solutions people have in their heads are often 180-degrees different from each other. I think we should give fewer guns a whirl though, me.
Friday, August 26th, 2022
Just a lovely day here in Bend, Oregon. It’s very warm out. That kind of deep-seeded warmth you can only feel in late summer, when the warmth radiates from every sidewalk square, telephone pole, and deck chair as much as it does from the sun.
I’m 42 years old today. I only feel half that old so here are 21
dumb blog post drafts that probably wouldn’t make it to full posts anyway important things.
Dip bread into soup.
You can do better than “FBI Surveillance Van” for your WiFi network. C’mon people. My friend Justin’s used “I had wine glasses once.” and the fact that he never told anyone the story made it even better. Oh also your dogs tags, that’s a good opportunity to get weird.
But your garage door code can still be 6969 that’s fine.
I was 42 years old when I learned that the reason some bars put ice in the urnials is because it makes it stink like piss less. I always figured it they were cycling out old ice or something. Or wanted to bring some joy to urinal-using folk, because peeing on ice rules.
It’s always that II – V – I turnaround. Classic.
It’s easy and awful to lie to yourself. I wish I could find a way to flip off that switch.
It’s easy and awful to put forth faux emotions. I wish I could find a way to flip off that switch.
Always carry a pocket knife. You might have to open a package or avenge a loved one’s death.
Well hard time Harry was posting them scary conspiracy theories on his wall. He’s got a lazy boy look upon the fall of babylon, caps lockin’ the original swing.”Seth Bernard – The Original Swing
I have always liked the idea of “you get better at what you do.” Not so much because it helps you hone in on what you are good at and/or how to get better at something. I prefer thinking of absolutely random people and what they have mastered. Like your old lazy neighbor who literally only watched TV all day. They were amazing at watching TV. They knew all the channels. They knew what came on when. They knew how to channel surf to avoid commercials but circle back to what they were watching before right on time.
There is no reason to be anything but nice to strangers. It makes you both feel good. Being a dick to someone makes you both feel bad.
A real skill is learning to identify and brush off the inconsequential.
Sometimes you have to make a deliberate choice to improve how you do the things you do.
Take the day flight.
How the fuck does sailing into the wind work? That’s just weird — I can’t deal with it. I’ve looked it up a half dozen times in my life and my brain rejects the reasonable answer.
The number of difficult conversations you have in your life is equal to the number of difficult conversations you have in your life.Chris Coyier
I love how you can buy individual screws and bolts and washers and stuff at hardware stores. Literal hardware. I’ve got three washers at $0.41 each, three bolts at $0.71 each, and three nuts at $0.19 each. Oh and this pack of Red Vines.
Memory is distinct from intelligence or wisdom, but I’ve always thought them to be highly linked. If you can recall things relevant to whatever you are thinking about or discussing, it tends to be helpful and lead to better decision-making and more fruitful discussion. Likewise, if you have a bad memory, you are doomed to repeating what has already been learned from. Seems like technology can really step it up here. We’re already well into the “nobody wonders anymore” era (just look it up), now we’re poised to enter the “context and history is available at every glance” era.
Oh crap, I need to get out of here. It’s my birthday and I’m sitting at the computer.
Thursday, August 25th, 2022
It’s an 11″ pot Oak and Pistachio Short Scale Five String Banjo from Beansprout / Aaron Keim & family up in Hood River, Oregon.
I drove up to Hood River to pick it up and see Aaron, his shop, and his family. It was so cool to see the woodworking shop of a real luthier.
I also brought him my old walnut Beansprout banjo (he seemed to suggest it might have been the 3rd or so he ever made) which needs some repairs. I left it up there with him and will likely go back and get it later this fall.
There were chickens roaming around, side projects strewn about, interesting raw wood stored away (wine barrels slats stained purple from the wine!), and instruments in all sorts of different states of completion.
I went with a “short scale” as I already have a few full-scale banjos and I thought having one more travel-compatible would be fun. It does tune into G just fine — a number of people asked me assuming it wouldn’t somehow. I picked up a case that’s the perfect size, which is apparently hard to come by, as production on them is sporadic. Plus: nylon strings! I friggin love the sound of nylon strings! I can hammer on them pretty good and instead of it being intense/obnoxious, it sounds cool.
My trip to Hood River was a pitstop on my way to Centralia Campout for the week. I figured this would be a fun novelty instrument to have along. But no, I love this banjo so much I played it the entire week there and took it to the next event with my as my primary as well. It’s such a sweet sound.
Here’s another audio clip with other players from Centralia:
Here’s a fun snap of my Centralia buds, right before I plopped my own chair in there and joined them.
After Centralia, I popped over to Crane Prairie Reservoir where my buds Becky & Verda host a yearly bluegrass-themed camping gathering. There is a big jam (and little ones spotted around). Unbeknownst to me, there was a wonderful photographer there, Dan Schafer, who took some wonderful snaps.
The local news showed up!
Local news loves a good folk event. I bet I’ve been in the paper 3-4 times just for holding a banjo in public, and I don’t even do it that often. Like that one time at Merlefest.
Wednesday, August 24th, 2022
Much of my daily brain power is dedicated to logic puzzles.
Coding is effectively a logic puzzle and I do an awful lot of that. Many other aspects of a business are solving puzzles. Determining strategy. Trying to be effective at marketing. Measuring and charting progress. Running a business is just playing a game with higher stakes.
My entertainment time is weirdly focused on logic puzzles as well. I like watching people play strategy games, whether it’s a decades-long fascination with watching players duke it out in StarCraft II, or a more recent fascination with watching people solve difficult Sudoku puzzles (which is giving way to actually playing them myself). Watching people’s brains churn is high fun.
I’m just back from camping at a couple of music events, the first focused on old-time music, the second on bluegrass. I find my experience with old-time in particular weirdly similar to a logic puzzle. There are thousands of old-time songs (here’s a useful subset), most with subtle variations over time and region. Everyone has their set of favorites memorized in which they can lead. Crucially, they all share enough spirit that an intermediate player can pick up a new tune on the fly and play along with it. Players who have never played together before can generally produce pretty good-sounding music! Sometimes a tune will flub (and it’s often just funny) and sometimes there are real moments of musical transcendence (holy crap, we just made that song really work).
The trick in old times is figuring out the logic of the song as quickly as you can so you can get in on it. How many parts is it? How many times do the parts repeat? Is any part of it crooked? (That is, extra beats, uneven parts, parts that bleed into each other or sound like they do, etc.) What key is it in? (Usually obvious, as keys are agreed upon early and players tend to stay in a key for hours/days) What is the pace? What are the dominant notes in the melody? (Even if you don’t get the song perfectly, hitting those dominant notes will feel good and make the song work, and skipping or faking the rest isn’t terribly detrimental).
I feel lucky. I love all this stuff. It’s all fun to me, in different satisfying ways. In another aspect of self-reflection though, I would note that spending so much time in logic-town I fear limits my time in other aspects of life. Not that I neglect my life generally, I just mean that my emotional intelligence, for example, is likely not particularly well developed. Nor my fashion sense, botanical abilities, snowboarding chops, culinary prowess, or pumpkin carving technique.
Tuesday, August 23rd, 2022
Fascinating that the CEO and co-founder of Patreon, Jack Conte, has a YouTube Channel (cheezy clickbait thumbnails and all) where he hangs out with his buddies, invites on super good musicians to talk about their work, and shoots the breeze about good music old and new. Well, I guess I can relate.
Monday, August 22nd, 2022
I just noticed for this first time while driving along a highway that Google Maps shows “Speed Traps”. Apparently user-reported (where? maybe in Waze?) data where police are using radar speed guns to measure your driving speed, and pull you over and ticket you if you’re speeding.
I don’t hate it, it just seems a little fuck-da-police-y for Google. It says: we want to help you speed. We’re not interested in safety, we’re interested in you not getting caught breaking laws. Surprising stance for big tech — or is it?
I tried searching for “robbable gas stations”, assuming it would show me locations where there are no squad cars that could respond quickly enough for a reasonable getaway — but nothing. Maybe that’s coming on a new paid tier.
Monday, August 15th, 2022
Ben Ubois was on The Changlelog the other day. Ben is the creator of Feedbin, my preferred RSS service. I say “service” and not “reader” because while I sometimes use Feedbin itself as a reader (it’s good), I also bounce around to other readers for fun. The API they offer enables this, which is a godsend. Right now I’m using a lot of NetNewsWire on my non-mobile machines, but ultimately it’s Feedbin under the hood syncing my read items and favorites and whatnot.
Adam Stacoviak mentioned that while he’s a Feedbin subscriber, he’s not much of an RSS user. They dig into why that might be in the show and it’s really interesting. Adam lists off a bunch of sites he’s got in there, and the problem sounds like the sites themselves. While it’s great the sites offer RSS and all, there is a bunch of “firehose” style news sites, with a signal/noise ratio that is not great for any one reader. Don’t subscribe to sites that do news as a business, was part of the advice, and I like that.
The “sweet spot” they honed in on is sites that publish more like weekly or monthly. So your RSS reader is kind of a catcher for less-oft published articles. That’s almost tough to hear as an RSS lover, because a little machine to catch random articles you might miss is quite a niche thing. No wonder RSS never seems to be able to take off.
I think I’d widen that sweet spot to even daily or multi-daily publishing sites, but if you’re getting to 5x and above daily, it’s too much for a good RSS experience. I’ve never been able to put my finger on that, but now I think that’s it.
I’ve had a draft post “Should we be able to pause an RSS feed as a reader?” for a while, but I’m deleting it now. That’s a niche feature for a thing that is already niche. If a feed is overwhelming to you, it’s unsubscribe town. Pausing isn’t an answer. If any publishers out there agree, I think an answer might be an RSS feed that is somehow trimmed down. A best-of-the-week collection, perhaps.
Friday, August 12th, 2022
I think about The Seven Things You’re Not Supposed to Talk About fairly often. This American Life producer Sarah Koenig’s mother, Mrs. Matthiessen, has seven rules. I’ll put them here, as she says them (although she credits a “French friend” for the first five):
It’s because they are boring, mostly. So they are in service of encouraging conversation to be more interesting. I kinda love them. Between all of them combined, far too much conversation circles around these things. I’d way rather be talking about nearly anything else. Tell me about the last playlist you made. Let’s see if we can name all 50 U.S. state capital cities. How are you feeling about Russia these days? What is your favorite theory of why we haven’t seen any other life in the universe?
I’m a little more tolerant of the health and diet stuff, as I sometimes find that interesting. But I agree with her #1. I just immediately glaze over when you tell me about the traffic on the way over here. A broken stoplight? Wow. That must really have been something.